Being a nail polish newbie, I missed all the NARS Zulu drama last December. My understanding is NARS had already discontinued the color and had it in their clearance stock, and then Sephora featured it on the cover of their Beauty Insider holiday issue – where it immediately sold out because the stock was already essentially kaput. People have been mourning its demise ever since.
Maybe you´re also a newbie and you´re reading this and thinking, what great thing did I miss out on?!? (Kind of like finding out about the clearance bottles of Gobin Daude after the fact.) So I was amused to see, browsing the online reviews at places like MakeupAlley before Zulu achieved cult status, a lot of complaints about how streaky and crappy the application was – I think because it must be a jelly finish. Judging by people’s online snapshots, it’s hard to get perfect application around the edges.
I´ve gazed at online photos of Zulu on places like nailgal (speaking of dangerously addictive nail porn, because I can search by color and finish), as well as people´s various attempts at Frankening a replacement. I´m not going to mourn something I don´t have, but I admit I found the concept of a dark green cream/jelly pretty alluring.
So today´s brief post shares a particular discovery I made last week, available at your local mall´s Hot Topic (and their online store) and pretty regularly on eBay – LA Colors Art Deco nail lacquer in Forest Green, and here´s a link to the page. I bought it at the store just to check it out because it had no shimmer and might be a good substitute for Rescue Beauty Lounge Recycle.
First, the bad news – it´s in one of those mascara-shaped glass bottles with a thin eyeliner type brush, presumably for painting little doodads on your nails. I wanted a regular brush, so I bought a bottle of clear $3.00 polish at Target, dumped it out, and poured this in – and it´s only about half a bottle, so you´d need two to make a full bottle. At that point you´re already into it for $9, right?
The good news? The polish is killer – easy application, nice consistency, and the deepest, darkest green you could have without it fading to black in indoor or indirect lighting. With two coats it has a look somewhere between a jelly (slight cuticle drag and some translucency) and a cream. With three coats the finish becomes less jelly but it still has depth. I threw a coat of Seche Vite on top because I like my nails super shiny. The final nail color, by the way, is darker and richer than what you see in the bottle. It looks darker than nailgal’s photos of RBL Recycle, and it looks darker than the online photos of the Hot Topic Kelly Green (apparently no longer available) that people were frankening. If you wanted it even darker, you could always add a few drops of black.
Is it a dupe for Zulu? I don´t know. I don´t have a bottle of Zulu and likely never will. But my nails looked very much like the Zulu photos on nailgal — minus the messy edges. Zulu or no Zulu, it´s a great cool-toned, surprisingly sophisticated green that wears well (five days, no chips) and garnered me tons of compliments. It also gives me what I´m calling The Snow White Effect – it makes my pale hands glow the same way the perfect lipstick can light up my face. For any of you jonesing for a deep green with no shimmer, it´s probably as close as your nearest mall.